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Skywatcher HEQ5 pro Questions

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#1 Dave-Ryan

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 07:02 AM

I've just got hold of a Skywatcher HEQ5 pro mount from ebay and have a couple of questions. I bought this mount initially for use with my 80mm ED APO, which is very similar to the Skywatcher Equinox 80 Pro Fluorite ED.

My first question is what length of unguided exposures could I expect to get using this setup and a Meade DSI 3?
Would 5 - 15 minutes be out of the question?

My second question is what size payload would this mount be able to handle? i have a Meade 10" LX200gps and wondered if the mount would be able to handle this?

I suppose thats really 4 questions.

#2 vinnie

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 07:35 AM

I've just got hold of a Skywatcher HEQ5 pro mount from ebay and have a couple of questions. I bought this mount initially for use with my 80mm ED APO, which is very similar to the Skywatcher Equinox 80 Pro Fluorite ED.

My first question is what length of unguided exposures could I expect to get using this setup and a Meade DSI 3?
Would 5 - 15 minutes be out of the question?

My second question is what size payload would this mount be able to handle? i have a Meade 10" LX200gps and wondered if the mount would be able to handle this?

I suppose thats really 4 questions.


I recently sold my HEQ5. Not because anything was wrong, just changing needs. The period for the HEQ5 is about 8 minutes, so you are good for at least 7 minute unguided exposures.

SkyWatcher used to rate this mount to carry 15Kgs although, like other labels under the Synta banner, they have increased this level to something that I find rather spurious.

The usual caveats apply with this mount. For AP, halve the recommended loading. This easily covers an ED80 which will ride like it isn't even there. Consider the bulk or leverage applied on any OT mounted for larger scopes

The mount needs to be in good order. Older versions of the HEQ5 suffered the "Black Death" which was a poorly meshed worm to crown and the use of black glue instead of light grease. Later versions are actually quite tidy mounts.

Oh and the obvious, don't matter what mount you have, without a really good polar alignment you won't get long exposures

Do be aware that should you choose to adjust things, over tightening the worm to crown engagement in RA usually results in the RA motor failing.

Despite all this, the HEQ5 is a very nice mount and way better priced than anything else in its class.

Good Luck!

#3 Dave-Ryan

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 07:55 AM

Thanks for that Vinnie.

I'd be over the moon with 7 minutes as the most I've ever been able to get is 30 seconds with the ED80 piggybacked on my LX200 in alt/az.

I'm not sure how old this mount is but it does appear to be in good condition. Is there any way to determine how old they are?

I've never polar aligned a mount before but I have spent many hours over the past 2 weeks looking into this and now have a fairly good understanding of getting a rough polar alignment and I'm considering using either PemPro or WCS for refining this. Do you have any experience with either of those two programs?

#4 Tapio

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 08:13 AM

Sorry but I must disagree with Vinnie - I doubt that you will get 7 minutes exposure times unguided.
Maybe it's possible if you accurately polar align and do PEC training and use shorter focal length scope (maybe up to 300mm).
I can hope to get max 1 min exposure time with my HEG5 Pro and Equinox Pro (500mm fl) even if I use PEC.
After PEC I get something like 12" periodic error (which is really good for mount in this price range).
So you definitely need autoguiding to get longer exposures.

#5 Dave-Ryan

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 08:32 AM

I was afraid I might need guiding but I was hoping for at least 2 minutes.

I haven't had a chance to use this mount yet so the first chance I get I'll put it to test.

#6 groz

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 09:52 AM

Take a look at this website, it'll show you what can be done with an heq5-pro unguided.

http://www.members.s...xies/index.html

John has done some amazing work with that setup.

#7 vinnie

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 05:11 PM

Thanks for that Vinnie.

I'd be over the moon with 7 minutes as the most I've ever been able to get is 30 seconds with the ED80 piggybacked on my LX200 in alt/az.

I'm not sure how old this mount is but it does appear to be in good condition. Is there any way to determine how old they are?

I've never polar aligned a mount before but I have spent many hours over the past 2 weeks looking into this and now have a fairly good understanding of getting a rough polar alignment and I'm considering using either PemPro or WCS for refining this. Do you have any experience with either of those two programs?


Re age of the mount. If its a SkyWatcher the older versions are black, the newer white. Don't panic if you have a black one, most of these were still good mounts. You'll know if you have a "Black Death" version, believe me. If the thing is rough there are plenty of tutorials on regreasing. It not too challenging if you take your time and a bit of care. Actually I haven't seen a black death mount for many years

Sorry I'm not familiar with any of that software but for longer exposure work you really need to drift align. Look down the menu of the left side of this page for a tutorial

http://www.petesastrophotography.com/

#8 Tapio

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 12:59 AM

Take a look at this website, it'll show you what can be done with an heq5-pro unguided.

http://www.members.s...xies/index.html

John has done some amazing work with that setup.


I didn't notice that those were unguided. But it's possible because the exposures were less than a minute.

#9 Dave-Ryan

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 07:18 AM

Very nice images there groz, they certainly give me hope, thanks for that.

Vinnie I have the white version. I'll make sure I read the drift alignment tutorial before I start imaging.

#10 groz

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 11:55 PM

Very nice images there groz, they certainly give me hope, thanks for that.


Those were on the website of an acquaintance that has the mount,and images with no computer along in the field. Ofc, if you upgrade and add the KwiqGuide (inexpensive in the grand scheme of things), then this is quite possible.

Taken from our back deck here in duncan last winter, williams 80 riding on the HEQ5-Pro, Nikon D-50 and KwiqGuide. 5 minute exposures, and if memory serves correctly, there were 20 of them.

Attached Files



#11 Dave-Ryan

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 05:27 AM

Very nice image groz.

I'm taking it that KwiqGuide is some kind of guide scope, this will have to wait for now.

I've been building my equipment up for the past 5 years so I'm sure I can wait a little longer for a guider. I still haven't had a chance to try the mount yet and I'm bound to find one or two problems as I've never polar aligned before.

I'll make a guide scope my next purchase when I'm getting my polar aligning as good as possible.

I just wish I could get a couple of clear nights. I do work strange hours which also doesn't help. I've only had my LX200 out twice this year, both in February. I'm in need of a fix.

#12 groz

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 11:27 AM

The kwiqguide is a qhy5 mounted in a 9x50 finder to guide the system. You can order the full package here Link , or you can get the 'secret sauce' which is the adapter from the threads on a 9x50 to the t-threads of the camera, then piece together the rest from cheap/used sources. I've changed both of ours to sit in 6 point rings rather than the bracket they provide.

It's the least expensive and lightest guiding solution we've found to date, and we use two of them all the time, one on the heq5, one on the eq6. In our case, it's ideal for use with the heq5, which we have loaded pretty decently already, with the megrez 110.

#13 Dave-Ryan

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 12:54 PM

I'll keep that in mind when I'm ready for a guide scope, looks just the job and reasonably priced.

Do you know if they will deliver to the UK?

#14 Taylor

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 03:20 PM

Dave make your own, http://msfastro.net/...er_guidescope/.
I followed those instructions and had a fully functional equivalent for a sum of like $9 in parts. Its not as pretty but if you already have any camera lying around w/ a 1.25" nosepiece that is compatible with PhD or Guidedog or any of the other guiding software, as well as an old 50mm guidescope (or buy one on here or Amart for <$30), and just get a GPUSB for like $60 on AMart and you'll be set while saving quite a few pounds in the process.

#15 Dave-Ryan

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Posted 05 September 2009 - 07:13 AM

Thanks for that Taylor.

I just happen to have an old DSI laying around, now I just need to find a finder scope.






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